Friday, 19 October 2007
What I miss about London #2
Squirrels. I love them.
Apart from the fact they are cute and tiny, they have a mischievous way about them that makes them appealing. They are timid yet curious. And they are everywhere. These guys live in the middle of London and out in the country. Go to a park and have a picnic, they will come and say hello.
My first encounter with one was in the middle of winter as I walked through the local gardens rugged up in scarf, hat, coat ... layer upon layer of wool. There was a squirrel jumping through the grass looking for food and it was so cute I decided it was a worthy friend with whom to share my malteezers. So I threw one in his general direction, in a friendly manner so as not to scare him away.
Well... his little nose twitched and he came quickly upon the bounty, holding it to his face to draw in the smell. It was the size of a small football and no doubt too good to be true. It was gone within seconds.
I had a few laughs as he downed a couple more without hesitation. I watched as his eyes began to sparkle with his first sugar rush. It probably wasn't the best of things to do, but it was entertaining. In the following years, having decided malteezers weren't the healthiest of options, I fed them nuts.
One Christmas I lined up a row of different nuts just to see the reaction... A walnut, a hazelnut, a peanut and an almond.
It didn't take long for a squirrel to appear. And it didn't know where to start. It immediately went to the familiarity of the peanut. Shoved it in it's mouth, went to run away and then spied the hazelnut. It was a small balancing act, but he managed to pick it up. With bounty in hand (and ready to retreat), he glanced to his right and came upon the nut of his dreams... The walnut.
He was cartoonish in his reaction. "What do I do? How can I carry that too? What the *@?$! is THAT thing? It's huge. All my Christmases have come at once." (Yes, I believe, squirrels celebrate Christmas!) It didn't take him long to bury what was already in hand an return. I hope he burried that walnut and let it soften a little, there was no way he was going to get into it otherwise.